Smite developer Hi-Rez Studios is branching out into the mobile arena with Paladins Strike — an isometric, MOBA-style take on its popular free-to-play hero shooter Paladins.
The PC, PS4, and Xbox One title has gotten a bit of an overhaul on its way to Android devices via the Google Play Store (and iOS devices), but you pick a champion, push payloads, and battle it out with other players online.
Much like its mobile MOBA contemporaries — like Vainglory and Heroes Evolved — Paladins Strike is deceptively simple to pick up and play.
Look beyond the frantic 5v5 skirmishes, however, and you’ll find a wealth of strategies and stat upgrades that will help you lead your team to glory.
Here are some essential tips and tricks for unlocking new champions, getting free Runes, and taking down foes on the battlefield.
How to unlock more champions
When you think of the top-tier MOBAs like League of Legends, Dota 2, and even Hi-Rez’s own Smite, as well as the most popular hero shooters like Overwatch, the first thing that usually stands out is the eclectic character roster.
The Paladins series certainly delivers memorable, quirky champions, each with their own unique designs, weapons, skills, and catchphrases.
Although not all 36 heroes have made their way to Paladins Strike just yet (expect to see them in the future), there are 24 to choose from at time of writing, with five — Viktor, Grohk, Cassie, Makoa, and Buck — available from the start.
There are several ways to unlock more characters in Paladins Strike. The simplest and easiest way is to simply buy them from the in-game store — accessed via the big yellow basket icon in the bottom-right corner of the main lobby.
Hit the champions tab and select the hero you want to purchase. Almost all of the champions can be bought with either tickets or crystals — the latter being the game’s premium currency which can be obtained slowly via in-game rewards or bought in bundles for real-world cash.
With the exception of newly added heroes, which will go for 599 crystals or 899 tickets, all purchasable champions cost 299 crystals or 599 tickets. From my experience, this isn’t very muc. You’ll accrue tickets fairly quickly and regular players should earn enough to be able to unlock at least one new champion a week.
The two other exceptions are Drogoz and Androxus. The only way to unlock Drogoz at the moment is by making a single purchase of a stack of Crystals. The minimum spend is $2.99, so if you really want to grab the flying damage-dealer then you’ll have to flash the cash.
Androxus, on the other hand, currently unlocks as a Starter Sign-in reward after logging on for seven days in total. This is distinct from the Regular Sign-In reward, which goes up to 20 days for consumable rewards. Both of these are accessible via the Sign In tab on the main menu.
Hi-Rez may add more champions to the Starter Sign-In and Crystal spend pool, but for now, the only other way to unlock more characters is through a third login bonus hidden away in the final tab in the Store.
Here you can draw a single reward once a day, with consumables, skins, and most importantly, champions, all up for grabs. Skye, Barik, and Terminus are all available as login awards at the moment.
How Talents and Abilities work
Each champion in Paladins Strike has a basic primary fire weapon which can be fired in any direction using two virtual sticks for aiming and firing. Sometimes a well-aimed shot can be enough to fell an opponent, but you’ll need to rely on champion abilities to truly shine.
Abilities greatly vary depending on each character’s playstyle and the key to victory is knowing when and where to use them.
Each champion has three abilities in total and a fourth ultimate ability which charges slowly over time, or much faster when you’re dishing out damage, getting kills, or healing your allies.
Every regular ability will go on a cooldown timer once used, so you won’t be able to spam your strongest moves. Likewise, ultimate abilities are the most powerful tools in each champion’s toolset. You have to wait the longest to use ultimate abilities, so don’t waste them.
This won’t be the last time I’ll say this: always, always, always head to Practice Mode and try out each champion and their unique abilities before jumping into a game.
I could go through every champion and explain their abilities one by one, but you’ll only really understand how each to play each character through first-hand experience.
The same is true of talents, which unlock as you play each match and offer passive buffs that can completely change your selected Champion’s strengths on the fly.
As you rack up kills and complete objectives during a game, your champion can grow by up to five levels. With each level up you can select one of two preset Talents, which can increase your movement speed, reduce cooldowns, up your damage, and more.
These levels reset after every match, so try out new buff and talent combinations each time you enter the battlefield.
What to do with Runes
As fun as Paladins Strike is, it doesn’t explain some of its underlying mechanics very well to beginners. This is especially true for Runes, which are barely, but deceptively simple to use.
Put simply, Runes upgrade each champion’s base stats. Unlike Talents, which disappear after every game, Rune upgrades last forever and will permanently improve your champions.
To upgrade runes you’ll need Rune Cores. These are primarily found in Rune Chests which can be bought in the store a certain number of times per day and unlocked by hitting Daily Quest milestones.
Rune Cores come in four varieties: red, green, blue, and universal. The first three are unique to each champion. For example, if you find a red Rune Core, it could be for Terminus, Pip, Kinessa, or any of the other champions, and can only be used to upgrade that specific character. Universal Cores, meanwhile, can be used on any champion, and as such are far more rare and valuable.
Once you’ve grabbed a bunch of Rune Cores, head to the Rune tab and you’ll see three Rune tables for each champion. The red and green Rune tables increase damage and max health, respectively, while the third blue table changes depending on the champion.
From here, you can pump red Cores into the red Rune table, blue Cores into the blue Rune table, and so on. Universal Cores can be used to upgrade any of the three tables.
Once you’ve leveled up each table to a certain rank, you’ll unlock a Super Rune in the center. This becomes stronger as you keep leveling up and offers a massive stat boost each time you reach a higher level.
In short, don’t hold onto your Runes! A single percent in health may not sound like much, but it could be the difference between getting killed in a losing fight or escaping with a sliver of health left in the tank.
Mastering each game mode
There are three 5v5 game modes in Paladins Strike: Siege, Summons, and Deathmatch. Siege is the main competitive mode.
Deathmatch is as simple as it sounds — two teams duke it out to the death and the first team to reach 30 kills wins — but Siege and Summons are a little more nuanced.
Siege is what is commonly known as an escort or payload map in class-based team shooters like Overwatch, Team Fortress 2, and, of course, Paladins. The mode’s been tweaked a bit in Paladins Strike.
In the first stage, both teams attempt to take control of a capture point in the middle of the map. When one team hits 100 percent capture, the point transforms into a payload cart.
At this point, the capture winners become the attacking team where the goal is to escort the payload to the opposition’s base. The defending team, meanwhile, has to stop the payload from reaching their base at all costs.
If the attacking team reaches the goal, they win. However, if the defending team manages to stall the payload before a timer ends, the game goes back to a king-of-the-hill-style capture match, with the first to hit 100 percent winning the entire match.
Summons utilizes the same base-to-base structure, but has more of a MOBA feel with three capture points up for grabs. If a team captures a point, a percent meter at the top of the screen will fill for as long as they hold it, speeding up as they control more points. The goal here is to destroy the enemy base. Each base has a massive health pool, but when a team hits 100 percent they summon a powerful Juggernaut which will stroll towards the enemy base and unleash massive amounts of damage unless taken down quickly.
While those are the basics of each mode, there are plenty of tricks to each that help you succeed.
Stick close to the payload to keep it moving on attack or stall it on defence. Fall back or hide in the grass to heal instead of rushing in and dying. Keep an eye on which of the three Summons control areas are unchallenged. These are all useful strategies that can make all the difference during a match.
Inexperienced players often ignore a few other crucial rules, too.
Know your role
The champions in Paladins Strike all fall into four categories: Damage, Flank, Support, and Front Line.
Damage characters are designed from the ground up to bring the pain, with abilities and Talents built to increase their deadly potential. The Support class, on the other hand, are your healers that offer low damage output, but are crucial to keeping you and your team alive in a fight.
Front Line champions are typically tank-like heroes with high health pools and abilities intended to increase survivability. Finally, Flank characters are high-mobility champions, usually with low health and high-risk-high-reward kits.
It should go without saying, but don’t rush head-first into a hectic fight as a Support character. Likewise, if you’re not soaking up damage as a Front Line hero, you’re teammates will probably drop like flies around you.
As I’ve already mentioned, Practice Mode should be your first port of call before wading into a match with a new character. Playing a sneaky stealth hero like Skye with invisibility shrouds and close-range blasters throws feels wildly different to, say, Barik, who can drop turrets and shields. You won’t know that unless you’ve tested them out first.
Your role in each game is defined by your champion’s class. This sounds simple, but you’ll be amazed at how often you see players neglect their individual responsibilities and chase kills to the detriment of the team.
Play as a team
The ultimate key to success in Paladins Strike is working as a team.
This starts from the champion select screen. It may be tempting to pick your favorite champion every game, but you won’t get very far if all five players choose a Flank or Damage hero with no healers or tanks.
Lead by example and switch to whichever type of champion your team needs. If your teammates are stubborn, you can always pop a quick message in the chat asking (politely) someone to switch over to another champion for a better team balance.
You’ll also need to rely on your team during the match, as you won’t last very long rushing in alone against five enemy players. If you’ve just respawned, stick around and wait for allies before mounting another push. Similarly, if you see a teammate under pressure, try to help them out if you can.
Your class should impact your decision-making during play. Even Flank characters, which excel at going alone and disrupting the enemy, still benefit from the rest of the team attacking from another direction or a quick heal from time to time.
Like all team-based games, Paladins Strike is also infinitely more fun when playing with friends. If your buddies are into fun competitive games on mobile, give them a nudge!
Keep grabbing daily rewards
Aside from gradually upping your Siege rank, the long game of Paladins Strike is in getting those juicy rewards.
Some players will want to max out their champions with Rune Cores to dominate matches. Others will just want to see their characters in new crazy Skins.
Whatever your longterm goal, you’ll find what you need by picking up login bonuses, gaining Achievements, and completing Daily Quests.
Daily Quests are quick challenges that reset every day. Each one gives you a small amount of experience and reward points. For every 30 reward points you get (up to a maximum of 150), you’ll unlock a new reward chest which can contain a combination of gold, tickets, and Rune Cores.
You should be able to complete all of the necessary Daily Quests in under half an hour, so it’s worth putting the time in to get those rewards. Achievements, meanwhile, will take a lot longer to complete and never reset, but the rewards are much higher.
This is especially true of the Collection challenges, which award the player with special character skins for achieving set feats for the corresponding champions. You should complete a fair few of the Achievements just by playing the game, but if there’s a specific skin you want, check the criteria before jumping into a match.
Do you have any tips and tricks to share with other Paladins Strike champions? Tell us all about it in the comments!